By Aaron Coleman
Talk about packing an emotional punch–
This episode of the Gifted started with a flashback of Clarice/Blink (Jamie Chung) having her life turned upside down when her boyfriend turns against her when confronted by the Purifiers. The Purifiers are the KKK of the X-men universe. They are a group of terrorists hell-bent on eradicating mutants. How many of us can relate to betrayal by someone we thought we knew or loved? Watching Clarice run off in tears broke my heart, but definitely set the tone for the rest of the episode. I knew where we were going and oh what a ride it was…
One of the many things I love about The Gifted is the way it fits perfectly within the X-Men cinematic universe. Esme, Sophie, and Phoebe (Skylar Samuels) are a trifecta of creepiness. In the comic books, they are known as the Stepford Cuckoos or the 3-in-1. They are clones of Emma Frost, a powerful telepath, former White Queen of the Hellfire club and member of the X-Men. When Sage said their last name is Frost and they also told cops their last name was Cuckoo, I applauded. Also when Polaris (Emma Dumont) told Esme she knows she’s part of the Hellfire club– Thumbs up. These are great nods to the characters comic book origins.
Seeing the funeral sequences of Sonya (Elena Satine) and Agent Weeks (Joe Nemmers) was well done. I’m glad they didn’t shy away from killing off core characters. This was a great way to move the story forward and change the storyline arc of everyone involved.
Moments of it would have been on the nose if not for the performances of Sean Teale (Eclipse), Emma Dumont (Polaris) and Coby Bell (Agent Turner). It clearly showed that the humans and mutants are 2 sides of the same coin, fighting for the same thing— civil rights. Eclipse said “We’re up against people that don’t think of us as human. They will point to our differences– we love like they do– we die like they do, we grieve like they do.” Sadly these words are an epitaph of current events and the current climate of the world today.
I feel that Thunderbird (Blair Redford) was misused in this episode. As the leader, he should have spoken at the funeral. If Thunderbird was too choked up to speak, then that moment should have played out on screen.
I liked Lauren’s (Natalie Alyn Lind) guilt at not being able to save Sonya’s life and Andy’s (Percy Hynes White) growing thirst to fight back against their enemies. Their PTSD from being Dr. Campbell’s (Garret Dillahunt) lab rats paid off. I hope we see the full scope going forward.
Watching the Cuckoos walk into the Mutant Underground like they own the place then ask for help was interesting. They know how to work a room without using their powers. You want to knock them into the middle of next week, but they do tell it like it is.
The Strucker family dynamics has finally grown on me. I like seeing Reed and Kate (Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker) make parental decisions for their super-powered children. Tonight they decided to leave the Underground for the sake of their family and because people don’t trust them. This made sense. As does Lauren and Andy’s teen angst at submitting to their parents. The eye rolling and attitude was believable as was Lauren’s countenance change at the sight of her paramour, Wes. Suddenly Mom and Dad’s idea to run was a good one.
The Cuckoos really got into the mind of Andy and of Polaris this episode. They manipulated the heck out of them. Going forward I suspect we will see darker changes in Polaris and Andy. In the comic books, Polaris and Fenris had villainous roots. It would be fun to see some of that play out here.
I was worried that there wouldn’t be a knockdown, drag-out mutant showdown this episode. That’s a big part of why we tune in. It came in an explosive package courtesy of the newly aligned Agent Turner and Dr. Campbell. They brought in a couple of enhanced mutants (Hounds) to capture the Strucker family, Thunderbird, Blink, Eclipse, Polaris, and Wes (Danny Ramirez). I would have liked to seen more mutant versus mutant action as the Cuckoos save the day. Again insinuating themselves back into the good graces of the Mutant Underground. I’m curious to see if they set the whole thing up.
Agent Turner mentioned “the robots getting stronger” sounds like we may have Sentinels in our future. And with the repeated mention of Polaris father, who is Magneto in the comic books would be very cool. As with all things we have to wait and see.
One gripe that I have is the Strucker family leaving should have been a bigger deal and it wrapped up too quickly. It would have been cool to see how the family dynamics would have played out on the run. Another gripe that I have is Eclipse seems to have all of the emotionally impactful, inspirational statements that should come from the actual leader. Eclipse said “The X-Men chose us for a reason… we have to be better than that.” Another great quote that should have come from Thunderbird.
The finale preview looks amazing with lots of mutant powers being used and Polaris in a business suit blowing stuff up. Has she gone with the Cuckoos or gone Cuckoo? Either way, I’m all in.
Let us know your thoughts below.